15 years ago I sat around our dining table with friends, Darin and Fiona Browne, as Fiona explained her vision for a Christian-based women’s shelter for destitute women. It was birthed a few years later and has done an outstanding job on the Sunshine Coast helping women of all ages who struggle with drugs, domestic violence and homelessness, all without a cent of government funding.
Fast-forward to 2016 and I recently read from the local Sunshine Coast Daily an article about a court case where the Judge praised a drug rehabilitation centre as the best he’d seen in his entire 10 years on the bench. The story goes like this…
Julie was a young woman got into drugs and eventually tried rehab to come clean. While there she met and fell in love with a career criminal and she eventually became the driver for the largest drug network on the Sunshine Coast. Police took down the $700,000 network in a recent sting and it was the last straw for Julie. She had her children taken from her and was facing serious gaol time.
She immediately booked herself into a strict nine month personal and drug rehabilitation program at Lily House. She remained clean after her release and continued to go to Narcotics Anonymous. She eventually got her children back.
Several rows of seats in the court were filled with Julie’s apprehensive and nervous supporters and counsellors from Lily House. When called before the bench for sentencing Justice Daubney said “I’m not here to give you a sermon…meth is a really bad drug, I don’t need to tell you that. While meth was buggering up your life, the meth you were distributing was buggering up other people’s lives.”
Then they heard the Judge tell Julie she was sentenced to five years gaol…suspended immediately!!! They clapped, cheered and cried together. The judge described Julie’s case as exceptional and the only case he could think of during 10 years on the bench where an offender truly rehabilitated themselves in the way “you hope to see”.
One of the counsellors later told me that the judge considered Lily House so strict he would personally have problems passing the course!
Lily House has many other stories to tell of women whose lives have been turned around, and some who have failed. Lily House exists on the kind donations of local citizens, charities and service clubs. Pray with me that they will continue to serve the Sunshine Coast community for another fifteen years.